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By Jeremy Sher

Crow by Jeremy Sher
Crow by Jeremy Sher

Directed by Scott Bradley

Produced by Walkabout Theater Company

At the Victory Gardens Upstairs Theatre, Chicago

Sailing  saga goes off course and adrift

Jeremy Sher’s one person work, Crow,  both written and staring Jeremy Sher is set in 1969  depicting a round-the-world solo sailboat race that finds Donal Crowhurst’s adventures being vividly presented. Utilizing innovative video (by Liviu Pasatre) and excellent sound (by Lee Keenan) on a yacht infused set complete with white sails and 1200 feet of  sailors rope, Sher’s 75 minute one-act is a vague, unfocused and confused story told in flashbacks in no particular order. The most engaging thing in Crow is the use of sailing ropes that Sher deftly arranges from one clamp to another making a series of  crossed rope formations hinting a sail ringings. I quickly got tired of watching Jeremy Sher move about the set as he tells his story while manically moving about suggesting the rigors of ocean sailing.

Crow by Jeremy Sher

The non-linear storytelling quickly and fatally confused me as it moved about depicting the sailing vessel’s massage around the world. The action of the story is told by Sher who seems to be presenting  Crowhurst as delusional as he mixes the background info with problems during the voyage.

Crow by Jeremy Sher

The beginning of the show shows Crowhurst receiving a hero’s welcome – is that a dream? We learn that Crowhurst was British yet Sher sounds American. We also learn that Crowhurst has a family and children yet he is obsessed with the challenge of the yacht race. We hear Crowhurst snuggling with his electronic  equipment that denies him responding to location inquiries.

But, by far, the most irritating part of this show was the meandering lunatic ramblings that Sher recited in a series of monologues ranging from comments on Einstein’s theories to rants on his motivation for continuing the race. The line between reality and delusion is obscured and I quickly got lost and bored with this show that depends more on rope tricks than clear focus.

There are so many unanswered questions – what happens to Crowhurst when he disappears?  Where is the line between fact and delusion in Sher’s presentation?  This perplexing elliptical work quickly wears out its welcome due mainly to its vagueness  and density. The 75 minutes seemed like a few hours. I’d skip thos one.

Not Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: June 3, 2012

For more more info checkout the Crow  page at

At the Victory Gardens Upstairs Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL,, tickets $28, Students $10, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm,Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 75 minutes without intermission, through June 17, 2012


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